A Perfect World Blu-ray Review
An astute viewer of A PERFECT WORLD when it hit theaters in 1993 would have correctly predicted that Clint Eastwood was going to receive multiple Oscar nominations for his directing in the future. I was a fan of the film when it first came out, but had not seen it since its initial release. A PERFECT WORLD is littered with things we now expect from Eastwood, such as precise character development, subtle emotions and an excellent story. I didn’t quite enjoy the film as much as I did when I was a teenager, but I felt like this was a giant foreshadowing of things to come from the great Clint Eastwood.
Even though Kevin Costner consistently takes slack for his acting, I find that when he’s in the right role, he’s one of the most charismatic leading actors of our generation. In A PERFECT WORLD, Costner plays Butch Haynes, an escaped convict with a conscious that kidnaps a little boy, Buzz, as he goes on the run from Chief Red Garnett (Clint Eastwood). Butch is a great role for Costner because all it really requires from Costner is for him to play up his natural charm and to occasionally throw out a bit of dialogue. Costner does very well in the film and it’s a credit to his ability that as the film shares time between Butch and the boy and the team of agents hunting them, you want them to keep going back to Butch.
The road-trip aspect of the film is where it really excels. The dynamic between Butch and Buzz is captivating and it’s great to watch their relationship go from reluctant passengers to best friends. Credit should also be given to the young T.J. Lowther, who gives a great performance as Buzz. This was a demanding role for a child actor, yet Lowther delivered an emotionally driven performance, which along with Costner, carried much of the film. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy things quite as much when we split time with Chief and his team of agents tracking Butch down. Eastwood played his normal, tough guy self, but Laura Dern as the profiler Sally Gerber was distracting and a bit obnoxious. It was not a good role for her and would have been better played with more subtlety.
But where the film really suffers is in the third act. Without divulging too much, Butch takes a weird turn when they stop to stay with a family and I didn’t think his character would have taken things that far. But Butch going too far is what set up the very end of the film, which I actually liked. I loved the scene with Butch and Buzz out in the open field, but I would have liked them to get there via some other route. I felt it was important to the final scene for the audience to still like and care for Butch and I’m not sure we did as the credits rolled.
Despite its flaws, A PERFECT WORLD is a quality film with some good performances. Eastwood and Costner fans that may have missed this will be pleased with their new discovery. Fans of the film should be pleased revisiting it because the film has held up pretty well. It’s not without its problems, but A PERFECT WORLD is an enjoyable film that marks an early sign of just how great a director Clint Eastwood would eventually become.
Video: Warner Bros. is doing a fine job releasing some of their catalog titles on Blu-ray and A PERFECT WORLD is a good example of the quality of transfer we’ve come to expect from them. The film has a very flat, saturated look to it, but it comes through wonderfully on Blu-ray.
Audio: The audio does its job, but the film doesn’t demand a strong audio track.